A meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) presided over by Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was held on Thursday. During the meeting, around Rs 251 billion worth of development projects were approved by the government, including a health care project worth 70 billion, which will also aim to boost its efficiency in the Covid-19 pandemic response as well as other natural calamities.
According to a statement by the finance ministry, the Covid-19 pandemic response and natural calamities control project worth 70 billion, has been approved by ECNEC as a cost that will be beared by the Federal government, through its federal funds. National Programme for Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), National Health up-gradation programme and Covid-19 response in under developed areas, are also included in the project, added the statement.
“ECNEC approved the largest health care project ever done by federal govt worth Rs. 70 billion. The project includes 45 billion for new health care facilities, 7 billion for national health surveillance, 13 billion water sanitation & hygiene & interventions in less developed areas,” tweeted Asad Umar, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.
ECNEC approved the largest health care project ever done by federal govt worth Rs. 70 billion. The project includes 45 billion for new health care facilities, 7 billion for national health surveillance, 13 billion water sanitation & hygiene & interventions in less developed areas— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) January 22, 2021
The project would assist the national health programme to boost health surveillance for humans and animals, as well as improve local infrastructure, water hygiene and sanitation. Azad Jammu and Kahsmir and Gilgit Baltistan also come under the umbrella of the project’s financing. 50 million worth of projects will be taken up under this plan, and they will be completed within one year or a maximum of two years, excluding schemes aimed for systemic improvements.
Projects that have a provincial share in the financing will be asked for their consent ahead of their approval, whereas the federal government will have the liberty to accept fully-funded projects. The funding of under developed communities and youth-related projects will be prioritised.
A total of Rs 45 billion will be provided to the National Health Programme to boost health facilities, Rs 7 billion has been approved for public health surveillance, Rs 12.5 billion for the National Programme for Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Rs 5 billion will be allocated to improve local infrastructure and finally, Rs 500 million has been approved as the cost of establishing this project.
Also approved during the meeting, which is one of the nine developmental schemes, is the Pak-China Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) project, which will establish a cross-border cable network between Karachi and Khunjerab beside the route China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is aimed to improve communication between the two countries and around Rs 37.9 billion will be allocated to this project.
According to the finance ministry, OFC project will be a gateway for international connectivity between Pakistan with China, and it will also establish Pakistan as a “digital gateway of regional connectivity.”